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How an Astronomical Mystery Was Explained by High-Tech Photography

They stretch 50 miles into Earth's upper atmosphere. They shower the night sky with shimmering bursts of light. They emit a crackling "ping" over radio. And because they're so fast, scientists have only known about them for a few decades. Today, Wired Science introduces us to the world of Transient Luminous Events—and the Santa Fe astronomer who has pioneered the art of photographing them. Thomas Ashcraft is a photographer and amateur astronomer who has captured dozens of Sprites (yep, they're named after Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) by taking continuous long-exposure shots from his home in New Mexico. Ashcraft lists his Sprite captures by grouping them into categories: Jellyfish, carrots, columnforms, and even "Elves," a separate type of sprite caused by nitrogen molecules. Read More at Gizmoto.

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